How to Sleep Well

Sleeping women

Sleep. It’s one thing we can’t live without and yet in these hectic times, we try to get by with as minimal sleep as possible. And then after a while, we find that we can’t sleep well.

Sleeping women

So here’s some simple tips, that you may or may not know, that will help you sleep well:

  1. Stop worrying about not being able to sleep. You need to be worry free. If you’re stressed, the body thinks you need to be ready for action and it will be on alert, which is the opposite of what you actually want it to be.
  2. Set a goal to get at least 8 hours of sleep per night.
  3. Force yourself to get to bed and wake up at the same time daily.
  4. Start to dim the lights around you an hour before sleep time. Your body responses to stimuli. And when it senses that the environment is becoming dimmer, it thinks its time to sleep. By having all the lights switched on, you’re basically telling your body that its day light.
  5. Stay away from snacks one and a half hours before you hit the bed.
  6. Exercise during the day. This tires your body and eventually your body will tell you that you need some sleep.
  7. Lose weight. Being fit helps you sleep well.
  8. Dont read too late – your mind is like a flywheel that still keeps spinning even after you have stopped reading and jumped into bed.
  9. Make sure there are no lights in your room. Dont leave a window open where the bright street light can get in. Some people tend to leave the windows open so that the bright sunlight wakes them up. This is fine if there is no bright light stopping you from sleeping at night.
  10. Some say a warm glass of milk helps.

Here’s wishing you a good night’s sleep!

Bridge – An Actual Social Network

 

Finally, a real social network. And what do I mean by real?

Bridge is an app which lets you meet your Facebook (at the moment it only links to Facebook. Google+ users will have to wait) friends for real life activities. When you log in and depending on your preferences (mine was photography, chess and computer programming), you’ll see bridges (or connections who sahre the same interest) close to you (you’ll need to actvate your GPS for the app to work).

bridge-social-network-2

 

So lets say I saw a friend doing some yoga. I click on the yoga bridge and I get more details. I can then RSVP, so that my friend knows that more people are coming or I could send a message to ask for more information.

The map view below shows all bridges close to your location of your friends who share similar interests.

 

bridge-social-network-1

You can then click on the activity that you’re interested in and see who’s coming and even check on people’s profiles, just in case you’re worried on who’s attending. You dont want to be in the same place with your ex-, I understand!

bridge-social-network-3

At least now you get to meet real people, in a real environment!

Finally, an actual social network!

 

How Do You Backup Your Home Computers?

These days we have more than a computer at home, not to mention our mobile devices. So how do you backup these machines? Or do you back them up in the first place?

In the old days, we would use portable USB hard disks. But these disks can also fail. You don’t want to go through what I went through when I lost around 8000 pictures when my portable USB disk died. That broke my heart. I then stopped believing in USB drives and opted for online storage. But with my DSLR pictures, online storage was becoming expensive. As such, I had to find an alternative.

And a home NAS box was the solution. NAS stands for Network Attached Storage. What that means is a device which has more than one hard disk, for redundancy, to back up the data for more than one computer at home.

Home based NAS system.
Home based NAS system.

 

This is how a home based NAS system would look like. Inside there would be slot for hard disks, typically between 2 to 4 slots. Ideal would be a 4-slot device. Why 4 is better than 2?

A 4-slot device means that at any one time, 1 hard disk can fail and your system still retains all data until you replace the hard disk. Then the system replicates the data onto the new hard disk.

Besides being a storage device, a home based NAS can also act as your multimedia centre (stream your movies from your NAS to your TV), FTP and Email and Web and Email server. Some new NAS systems also comes with BitTorrent software which makes it easy to download your favourite movies and songs.

Does This Means My Files are Saved 4 Times?

No. The way the system acts is that your file is split between 2 to 3 disks with the extra disks keeping track of where the file is. There is not one disk that keeps track of the files – all 4 disks do that at the same time, so that if one fails, your files are still intact and available for use when your replace the spoilt disk.

What Features Should I Be Looking Out For?

First of all, depending if you’re purely a PC or a Mac or a mixed environment user, you will need to source for a system that supports the machines that you have.

Second, look for the amount of storage your need. Typically would be around 4TB of space. Some systems come with 6TB or 8TB disks. These disks are all hot swappable. What’s this? Hot swappable means you don’t need to use a screwdriver to take them out or fix new ones. As you can see from the images below, all you need to use the latch on the disk itself to remove it from the system. Its pretty easy and a standard feature of NAS systems. Here’s the only catch: with a cheaper system, you will need to power down the system before swapping disks. With a more expensive system, you can make the swap while the system is running.

hotswapharddisk hotswapharddisk

Thirdly, look for a wireless NAS system. What this means is that your devices can wirelessly backup to the NAS or access the contents on the NAS without having to plug-in a network cable like how its done in offices.

Fourth, if you want your system to be quick, ensure that it comes with at least an Intel i5 processor and 8GB of RAM.

Fifth, check the NAS user interface. Typically it will look like something below:

nas_storage_interface

Besides letting you know the status of the system, the user interface also provides security options, and web options (allowing you to access your files at home from the web).

Do You Need Another Computer for the NAS?

No. All NAS are standalone’s. You would connect the NAS to a power source and to the router via a network cable. You need to connect the NAS to the router because it allows all computers on your home system to connect to the NAS.

So how do you access the NAS? Once your NAS is hooked to your router, just open a browser and type in 192.168.1.1 and enter in the given username and password. This will bring you to the NAS admin page as shown in the image above. On the admin page, you can set all the security, backup and web options.

Do I Really Need a NAS?

You would need a NAS if you have multiple computers and/or mobile phones to back up. A home NAS system is much cheaper than online storage and provides you with a peace of mind knowing that your data is backed up with redundancy.

Conclusion

Setting up a home based NAS system is something any layman can do. And I am not joking. The NAS companies have made home setup very easy.

Good luck.

 

We have Ebola – Seth Gordin

There are some people who are worth listening to and Seth Godin is one of them.

Seth Godin
Seth Godin

I’ve reproduced his latest insight because I think its spot on. It highlights how limited some people’s thinking can be.


 

It’s tragic but not surprising to watch the marketing of another epidemic unfold.

It starts with, “We” don’t have Ebola, “they” do. They live somewhere else, or look different or speak another language. Our kneejerk reaction is that “they” need to be isolated from us (more than 55% of Americans favor a travel ban for everyone, not just the sick). Even fifty years ago, a travel ban was difficult, now it’s impossible. The world is porous, there are more connections than ever, and we’ve seen this before.

Tuberculosis. Polio. AIDS. Fear runs rampant, amplified by the media, a rising cycle of misinformation, demonization and panic. Fear of the other. Pushing us apart and paralyzing us.

The thing is:

We are they.

They are us.

Education—clear, fact-based and actionable education—is the single most effective thing we can do during the early stages of a contagion. Diseases (and ideas) spread because of the social structures we have created, and we can re-engineer those interactions to dramatically change the R0 of a virus. Ebola doesn’t ‘know’ that large funerals are traditional, but it certainly takes advantage of them to spread. Ideas don’t ‘know’ that bad news travels fast, and that the internet makes ideas travel faster, but they take advantage of this to spread.

Cable TV voices that induce panic to make their ratings go up are directly complicit in amplifying the very reactions that magnify the impact of the virus. Attention-seeking media voices take us down. All of us.

It’s tempting to panic, or to turn away, or to lock up or isolate everyone who makes us nervous. But we can (and must) do better than that. Panic, like terror, is also a virus, one that spreads.

We have an urgent and tragic medical problem, no doubt, but we also have a marketing problem.

 

 

Anger and the Workplace – A Tip from Ghengis Khan

Has anger ever gotten the better of you at work? I recently saw a post from an internal consultant at Microsoft on this topic. He shared a story about the great military warrior, Ghengis Khan.

As the story goes, he is out with his forces and has his favorite, most trustworthy falcon with him. While his men are resting, he decides to go into the woods to clear his mind and find some fresh water.

Now, falcons are renowned for their sure, swift striking ability and their razor-sharp vision. Khan lets his falcon loose, and after a few minutes it dives and lands at a trickle of water. Khan approaches, sees the water, and begins to fill his cup.

As he raises his cup, his falcon swoops and knocks it to the ground, spilling the water. Khan curses furiously, then picks up his cup and begins filling it again. And once again, the falcon swoops and knocks it from his hands.

Now, being strong and having won many victories, Ghengis Khan is a proud man. Fearing one of his soldiers might see this and ridicule him for letting a simple bird get the best of him, Khan draws a small sword and begins filling his cup for a third time from this slow trickle of water.

The falcon again dives and knocks the cup from his hand. Khan is prepared, and he strikes down his own bird. Infuriated that his bird is dead and his cup is still empty, he walks toward where he determines the source of the water to be. He is astonished to see a poisonous snake, laying dead in a small pool of water. Surely, if he had drunk the water contaminated by this deadly snake, he would have died.

Khan later orders that a statuette be formed in the shape of his slain falcon, and engraved with these words:

“An action done in anger is an action doomed to failure.”

The lesson here is in how you react to fear and anger.

Especially as a leader (or parent) acting in anger doesn’t make you look strong. In fact, it makes you look childish and petty or like a bully. How you respond to negative stimulus at both home and work are what will really define your legacy and have far more impact on how the world perceives you.